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'He is a very important player for us' - Manquillo hails compatriot Pérez

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Javier Manquillo paid tribute to fellow Spaniard Ayoze Pérez after the forward bagged a hat-trick to fire Newcastle United to a significant Premier League win over Southampton.

Victory, their sixth in their last seven outings at St. James’ Park, moved the Magpies up to twelfth and ten points clear of the relegation zone – all but securing their top-flight status.

Having also struck the winner at Leicester City a week past Friday, Pérez now has 11 goals for the campaign, and Manquillo was keen to highlight the impact made by his compatriot over the course of the season as a whole.

“I’m very happy for him, because I really think he deserved what he has done today,” he told nufc.co.uk. “He is a very important player for us and we hope he keeps helping the team in the same way, scoring more goals.

“I think the team are safe with these three points. But we don’t have to think about that – we need to keep pushing and keep winning to be as high as possible in the table. We have to stay focussed and continue to play in the same way.”

As for the Magpies’ recent renaissance at St. James’ Park, Manquillo added: “In the second part of the season, the players have come to know each other much better. They have looked at the mistakes they have made and have corrected those mistakes on the training pitch. I believe that the way we train together, correcting those mistakes and working on those basic things, has made us improve and that is why we are having better results at home.”

24-year-old Manquillo has been in and out of the United side for much of the campaign, but returned to the starting XI for the Magpies’ visit to the King Power Stadium and kept his place on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m very happy to have done that,” he said. “But, every time I have the opportunity to play, I’m going to do my best – like I have always done. I hope I still have a chance to play, perform well and help the team.”

"I’m very happy for him, because I really think he deserved what he has done today."

Javier Manquillo

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